Saturday, May 17, 2014

As symposiarch, I intend to guide the conversation. We'll need an agora, or Lloyd's Landing.


You may recall that I attended a symposium earlier in the year, and now, after a nudge from the Bookseller, I've come to the conclusion that we need to begin scheduling symposia at the new and evolving Bank Street Brewhouse.

For one thing, without a kitchen, and absent the prerequisites attendant to food service the way we had been doing it, there is liberation and perfect freedom to pursue other options.

Then there's the beer. The Greeks may have used wine for intellectual lubrication, but we have session ale.

Finally, I really want to use the title Symposiarch.

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symposium (n.)
1580s, "account of a gathering or party," from Latin symposium "drinking party, symposium," from Greek symposion "drinking party, convivial gathering of the educated" (related to sympotes "drinking companion"), from assimilated form of syn- "together" (see syn-) + posis "a drinking," from a stem of Aeolic ponen "to drink," cognate with Latin potare "to drink" (see potion).

The symposium usually followed a dinner, for the Greeks did not drink at meals. Its enjoyment was heightened by intellectual or agreeable conversation, by the introduction of music or dancers, and by other amusements. [Century Dictionary]

The sense of "a meeting on some subject" is from 1784. Reflecting the Greek fondness for mixing wine and intellectual discussion, the modern sense is especially from the word being used as a title for one of Plato's dialogues. Greek plural is symposia, and the leader of one is a symposiarch (c.1600 in English). Related: Symposiac (adj.); symposial.

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